Staff Pick!

Today’s blog post highlights both a member of the Special Collections and University Archives staff, Becky Jordan, and some items from the Marie Hall Papers (RS 21/7/51).

Becky Jordan is the Reference Specialist here. She has worked in the department the longest and has graciously answered a few questions about herself.

Becky Jordan giving tour of collection storage area for History class April 2016

Becky Jordan giving a tour of the collection storage area for HIST 195 class, April 2016.

How did you get started in Special Collections & University Archives at Iowa State University?

I had worked in the Library as a student, and so was somewhat familiar with the University’s Merit System jobs.  Several months before I graduated, I took the test for Secretary I over at Human Resources in Beardshear Hall (I was an English major, so I had excellent typing skills).  It happened that there were two secretarial jobs open in the Library, and I interviewed for both during final week of my last quarter—we were still on the quarter system then.  I graduated on Saturday, March 1, 1975, and was offered the secretarial job in Special Collections the next Monday.  My first day was the following Friday, March 7.  I’ve never left!

What do you do?

I handle reference requests relating to the collections in the department.  Most are from people off-campus and can cover any topic, from aircraft design to the 1895 football team.  I regularly do tours of the department, for classes and other groups.  I also spend at least six hours a week at our public desk in room 403 of the Parks Library.

Why’d you pick this collection/item to highlight?

This is Marie Hall’s college “Memory Book” from the Marie Hall Papers (RS 21/7/51).  Marie entered Iowa State in the Fall of 1916 and graduated in the Spring of 1920. 

Marie Hall as a young woman

Portrait of Marie Hall (RS 21/7/51 box 2)

The scrapbook begins with a letter to the incoming freshman class and the Iowa State College Handbook, and ends with the invitation to the 1920 Commencement.  In between, she saved what looks like everything—dance cards, newsclippings, programs from events, invitations, greeting cards and photographs.  I like to use this for class tours, because it includes “General House Rules for Young Women of Iowa State College.”  I read them off and ask the students if they think they could follow the rules today.  We lose them right away with the 10:30 bedtime.

Close up of General House Rules

General House Rules for Young Women of Iowa State College Close up of General House Rules (RS 21/7/51 box 2)

Page from memory book containing "General House Rules for Young Women of Iowa State College"

Page from memory book containing “General House Rules for Young Women of Iowa State College” (RS 21/7/51 box 2)

Becky’s last comment about working in Special Collections and University Archives: “I’ve always enjoyed working here, because we learn something new every day.”

Drop by the reading room to check out other collections documenting the history Iowa State University!


Television is for Kids! @IowaPublicTV

This month is a great time to celebrate children’s television programming in the State of Iowa. After all, Iowa Public Television is debuting their new IPTV Kids Clubhouse with host, and personal friend of yours truly, Dan Wardell. If you have kids (or you are a kid at heart) I would recommend checking it out.

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This undated image shows longtime host of The Magic Window, Betty Lou Varnum, on the set of the show. Photograph from box 4, folder 6 of the Betty Lou Varnum Papers, RS 5/6/53.

Of course, any discussion of children’s programming in Iowa eventually leads to talk of WOI-TV and America’s longest-running children’s program (who am I to argue with Wikipedia?)–The House with the Magic Window. Originally called The Magic Window, this program aired in central Iowa on WOI-TV from 1951 until 1994 and for nearly 40 years was hosted by Betty Lou (McVay) Varnum. Betty Lou became a fixture in most central Iowa households and almost anyone growing up here during this time could tell you who Betty Lou was and name each of her puppet friends that regularly appeared on the show.

However, Betty Lou was not the first host of The Magic Window. Other hosts included Virginia “Ginny” Adams, Joy (Ringham) Munn, and Arjes “Sunny” Sundquist. Each of these women hosted the show for a year or so until Betty Lou took over permanently. Special Collections and University Archives has kinescope (16mm film) recordings of some of the earliest episodes of The Magic Window in our collections, but sadly we only have one recording, dating from 1955, of Betty Lou as host of The Magic Window!

Something most people may not be aware of is that WOI-TV produced a second children’s program in 1954 called Window Watchers (I see a theme here). This program was sponsored by the National Educational Television and Radio Center, later known as the Public Broadcasting Service. Window Watchers was hosted by Arjes Sundquist and featured a  format very similar to that of The Magic Window.

To view some of these early children’s programs, visit our YouTube Channel!

For more information on WOI-TV during the time it was owned and operated by Iowa State University, read through some of the finding aids listed on the Special Collections and University Archives website on this page.


Military Circus #TBT @CycloneROTC

The first Military Circus at Iowa State University was held on March 4, 1922. It was held annually, with some exceptions, until approximately 1941.

Boys, Military Service in Armory, March 7, 1925 (University Photographs box 1112)

Boys, Military Service in Armory, March 7, 1925 (University Photographs box 1112)

To learn more about the history of the Department of Military Science, drop by the reading room and check out the Department of Military Science Subject Files and other related collections! We’re open Monday – Friday 10-4.


Beaux Arts Ball #TBT @ISUDesign

Beaux Arts Ball 1953

Beaux Arts Ball 1953 (University Photographs box 1649)

The Department of Architecture used to host a Beaux Arts Ball in the 1940s and 1950s. The College of Design rekindled it in 1999 to celebrate the college’s 20th anniversary. Check out articles from Designnews  1999 (p. 10)  and  2000 (p. 33)  to read more about the Beaux Arts Balls from those years.

The Graduate Students in Architecture currently host a Beaux Arts ball in the spring for members, friends and faculty.

The Beaux Arts Ball originated from an annual ball called the Bal des Quat’z’Arts  held by  students of the École of Beaux-Arts in Paris in the spring from the 1890s. The Beaux Arts Ball came to New York City in the 1920s and was used by the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design as a fundraiser. Since then a variety of organizations have used the ball as a fundraiser or fun activity for its members.

Watch this video on YouTube to learn more about the history of the Beaux Arts Ball.

Stop by the reading room to see more photographs from Beaux Arts Balls in the past or other fun activities hosted by Iowa State student organizations. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-4.

 

 


Educating Farmers on Educational Trains

Amy Bishop, rare books and manuscript curator, at our exhibit table in the Iowa State Capitol's rotunda for Silos & Smokestacks Legislative Showcase.

Amy Bishop, rare books and manuscript curator, at our exhibit table in the Iowa State Capitol’s rotunda for Silos & Smokestacks Legislative Showcase.

Yesterday my colleague Amy Bishop & I attended the Silos & Smokestacks Annual Partner Site Meeting & Legislative Showcase in Des Moines. There are 115 partner sites that constitute Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) and all of the partner sites preserve and tell the story of American agriculture in some way. National Heritage Areas are places designated by Congress where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to tell a story that celebrates our nation’s diverse heritage. Special Collections & University Archives are a partner site for SSNHA.

We attended educational sessions in the morning and in the afternoon we put on a tabletop exhibit about a website created during a summer internship, Reflections on ISU Extension, that was funded by an SSNHA grant in 2014. The intern developed a digital collection and contributed to the design of its accompanying website. The collection offers a look into the early work of the Extension Service, its role in the education of farmers, and the impact it had on agricultural advancement and production. It is composed of documents, photographs, and select media.

One of the neatest things I learned from browsing through this digital collection was about the educational trains. The university (known then as Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm) sent instructors on trains throughout the state to teach classes on seed corn and other agriculture related topics of interest to Iowa’s farmers such as crops, livestock, and home economics.

 

Educational Trains. 1905. J. W. Jones speaking. M. L. Mosher helping. Audience in coach listens to a talk on producing better corn. Note the Holden sawdust corn testing box, a method by which 6 kernels of corn from each seed ear could be tested. Audience advised to plant only ears that tested six kernels strong.

Educational Trains. 1905. J. W. Jones speaking. M. L. Mosher helping. Audience in coach listens to a talk on producing better corn. Note the Holden sawdust corn testing box, a method by which 6 kernels of corn from each seed ear could be tested. Audience advised to plant only ears that tested six kernels strong.

 

On the Hog train. Snyder speaking soils man, ca. 1910s.

On the Hog train. Snyder speaking soils man, ca. 1910s.

 

Read more about the history of ISU Extension here: http://digitalcollections.lib.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/documents/ISUExt_History.pdf or view the Reflections on ISU Extension digital collection. You can always stop by and see original documents and photographs documenting the work of Extension or other collections related to agriculture. We’re open Monday-Friday 10-4.


Track and Field Throwback Thursday #TBT

This weekend the Iowa State University’s Track and Field teams (@CycloneTrackXC) are heading to Northern California for meets (click here for further details). In light of a busy upcoming April full of track and field events , this week’s #TBT pictures are blasts from our Track and Field’s past.

The Iowa State University Men’s Track and Field program has a history that goes back to 1905.

Jumping hurdles at a Men’s Track & Field meet ca. 1906 (University Photographs box 1948)

Women’s Track and Field began at Iowa State University in 1974. The Track and Field program features many indoor and outdoor sports including, but not limited to, sprints, relays, hurdles, long and high jumps, shot put, and discus.

Jumping hurdles at a Women’s Track & Field meet 1988 (University Photographs box 2032)

Drop by our reading room to check out more Iowa State University sports photographs! We’re open Monday – Friday from 10-4.

 

 

 


Cypix: Flood flashback #TBT

The Ames & College Railway, better known as the Dinkey, provided transportation between the City of Ames, Iowa and the Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University). As a joint venture of Ames and the College, the Dinkey began operating on July 4, 1891. The Ames & College Railway was sold to the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad in 1907. That year the Dinkey was replaced with an electric streetcar, known as the interurban.

The photograph below shows the Dinkey tracks during a flood occurring in Spring ca. 1901, water in Squaw Creek overflowed the banks and submerged the surrounding area. The water is high, but doesn’t appear to be over the tracks.

During a flood occuring in Spring 1901 or 1902, water in Squaw Creek over-flowed the banks, submerging the surrounding area. The water is high, but doesn't appear to be over the Ames & college Railway (The Dinkey) tracks. Two individuals are observing the creek and flood. The Marston Water Tower, Carrie Chapman Catt Hall (Botany Hall) and Old Main (after the 1st fire) are in the distance. (University Photographs)

Two individuals are observing the creek and flood. The Marston Water Tower, Carrie Chapman Catt Hall (Botany Hall) and Old Main (after the 1st fire) are in the distance. (University Photographs).

 

This photograph was found in the University Library Digital Collections. Browse around online to see what we have or drop by in person and visit us in the reading room! We’re open from 10:00 – 4:00 Monday – Friday.


Collection highlight: L. H. (Lois Hattery) Tiffany Papers

Lois Hattery Tiffany was born on this day, March 8, in 1924, in Collins, Iowa. She received her B.S. (1945), M.S. (1947), and Ph.D. (1950) in plant pathology all from Iowa State College (University). She joined the Botany faculty at Iowa State as an Instructor (1950-1956). Tiffany was promoted to Assistant Professor (1956-1958), Associate Professor (1958- 1965), Professor (1965-1994), and Distinguished Professor (1994-2002). She also served as Chair (1990-1996) of the Botany Department. She retired from the department in 2002 and was named Emeritus Distinguished Professor.

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Lois Tiffany (University Photographs box 1036)

Tiffany, informally known as “The Mushroom Lady,” taught mycology and botany classes at both Iowa State University and the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. Her research included studies of fungal diseases of native prairie plants in Iowa, a 10-year survey of Iowa’s morels, and a study of the fungus flora of Big Bend National Park in Texas. She also participated in the Midwestern mushroom aflatoxin studies of both corn and soybeans. Her continuing commitment to research led to the naming of an Iowa truffle in her honor. The fungus, named Mattirolomyces tiffanyae, was discovered in 1998 in several locations of Story County’s oak woods.

 

Tiffany also made great advancements for the place of women in the sciences despite the challenges of sexism in the early years of her career. She was the first woman president of the Iowa Academy of Science, the first woman president of the Osborn Club, and the first woman scientist in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be awarded the title of Distinguished Professor.

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Botanical specimen container used by Lois Tiffany (Artifact collection 2011-197.01)

Read more about Lois Tiffany in the Ecological Society of America’s recent blog post. We hold her papers here in the University Archives.


Cypix: Sweet tradition!

One way Iowa State University coeds celebrated meaningful relationship milestones was to throw a surprise party with a fancy candy box and decorate with candles, flowers, printed napkins and party favors. The size of the candy box grew with the importance of the occasion. If a young woman received a fraternity pin, it was a 2 pound party, engagement announcements entailed a 5 pound party, an upcoming wedding was a 10 pound party, and the announcement of a baby was a 15 pound party.

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5 pound Engagement Announcement party, Feb. 14, 1954, Mary Glenn from Delta Zeta and Dwight Youngkin from Kappa Sigma. University Photographs RS 22/11/G box 1696.

Sources also indicate that the five and ten pound parties were at some point tied in with candle passing. At these gatherings a candle would be passed among a circle of coeds and whoever blew out the candle was the one throwing the party. If she handed out a five pound box of candy it meant she had been pinned and a ten pound box meant she was engaged to be married.

Come visit us and learn about other Iowa State University traditions! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4.


Thanks for coloring with us!

It’s been quite the week of coloring! We’ve enjoyed sharing our collections with you, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coloring them. Here is the final coloring page of the week. Another from Novo teatro di machine et edificii.

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Click here to download and print this image.

Share what you have colored by tagging #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives